Breach of contract
claims are among the most common contract disputes
handled by our Charleston commercial litigation attorney
. Typically, a party (which can be a business, executive, an entrepreneur or an individual) must perform under the contract unless all parties to the contract agree to alter the terms in the contract. Any deviation, small and large, from the terms of the contract can be found to be a breach of contract. The breaching party, in most cases, is held liable for the damages incurred by the non-breaching party. A breach of contract can occur whether the contract is written or oral.
Several situations may occur which give rise to a breach of contract claim. Some examples include: a party to a business contract could act in a way that violates a term of their business agreements; a party might be refusing to perform its contractual obligation (such as delivering product or making payment); or a party may act (or fail to act) in a way that makes it impossible for the other party to perform under the terms of the contract.
Generally, for a party to prevail on a breach of contract claim, they must show the following:
The existence of a valid business contract;
Knowledge of the business contract on the part of the defendant or that it was readily apparent to the defendant;
An intentional interference that causes a breach of the contract; and
Economic damages suffered by the non-breaching party as a result of the breach party’s business contract interference.
Usually, the central issue in breach of contract lawsuits is determining the intent of the parties. The intent of the parties sets out each party’s expectations to the agreement, the extent of each party’s duties and obligations under the contract, what the parties expect from the business transaction, how the parties have allocated the risks of the transaction, and what the consequences of a breach of contract will be. Learning the actual intent of the parties as understood by the parties involved is normally reflected by the four corners of the business agreement. Thus, it’s absolutely important to always have a well drafted business contract in place that properly reflects the business transaction and the parties duties and responsibilities of that specific business transaction.